What to do when your pet is missing
If your pet has gone missing, there are a number of things you can do immediately to help find them:
- Call all the local vets practices in case a member of the public has handed your cat or dog in or notified them of a stray. Vets are often heavily involved in reuniting pets scanning microchips, housing strays in their kennels and sharing information on their Facebook pages.
- Report lost pets to your local animal rescue centre. Links to national animal rescue and welfare charities are listed below.
- For lost dogs, contact your local animal warden, who is responsible for collecting stray dogs. Unfortunately, very few animal wardens deal with stray cats.
- Use our free online tool to create posters of your missing pet and ask local businesses to display them – but please remember to take them down once your pet is found!
- Post photos and details (last known location, distinctive markings, and your contact details) of your lost dog or lost cat on Facebook and Twitter and ask local vets, friends and colleagues in your local area to share them. You’ll often find Facebook groups dedicated to reuniting lost pets in your area.
- Register lost pets on the free online databases and contact relevant lost dogs or lost cats charities and advice services. Some of the best and most popular are listed below.
- White Cross Vets will be happy to share your missing pet on social media if you get in touch with the relevant practice Facebook page, or contact us on Twitter.
Missing pets online services
DogLost.co.uk offers excellent free advice and comprehensive support for owners who have lost their dog, including a national lost dogs search directory listing, press release and media relations support, a free poster print and distribution service and emails out to local volunteers who can help look for your pet.
AnimalSearchUK.co.uk is a free website for lost dogs and cats offering a missing pets search service.
NationalPetRegister.org is a similar service offering missing pets and found pets registers, along with Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts to share details.
Animal rescue and welfare charities
Ways to help prevent your pets from going missing and make them easier to find:
- Ensure your dog or cat is clearly identifiable with a collar and a tag.
- Tags should contain the owners’ name, the first line of their address, postcode, and at least one contact number. Update their details if they change.
- Cats should always wear quick-release collars for safety.
- Microchip your pets. Dog and cat microchipping involves inserting a tiny chip into the scruff of the pet’s neck. It contains a unique code that can be read on a scanner to reveal the owners’ contact details. Cat and dog microchip scanners are regularly used by vets, rescue centres and dog wardens. Don’t forget to update pet microchip details if you move house or your pet ownership details change. By law, all dogs in England must be microchipped by April 2016.
- Advancements in technology now mean you can track and locate your pets in real time, for example with the Retrieva collar, which connects to your smartphone or computer.
- Under The Control of Dogs Order (1992), any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. Owners can be fined up to £5,000 if their dog does not wear an identification tag. Working dogs are exempt.